Half of U.S. companies expect their workers back in the office, according to Microsoft’s 2022 Annual Work Trend Index Report. There’s just one problem: Most workers really prefer staying at home. It’s causing tension at many organizations. At Apple alone, 56% of employees have considered quitting over in-person requirements, and one executive actually did.
Nobody enjoyed lockdown during the pandemic, but many workers have embraced a new sense of flexibility. Remote work is good for business in some ways, but companies also don’t want to pay for empty offices — and it’s tougher to brainstorm over Zoom. If you’re back on the commute and your home office is no longer an option, then make your office homier.
Let There Be (Non-Flickering Fluorescent) Light
A Journal of Environmental and Public Health study found that warmer, updated lighting increases alertness and efficiency. Breaking out of rigid, post-industrial norms — the flickering fluorescents, ugly file cabinets, and gray commercial carpet — isn’t just stylish, it’s a boon for mental health. Salt lamps and amber Edison bulbs do the trick too.
Plants, Plants, Plants
Association with nature straight-up enhances wellbeing, so stack that space with low-maintenance plant friends like pothos, lucky bamboo, ferns, and ZZs.
Less Plastic, More Texture
Choose natural over synthetic at every juncture. Do what you can to replace those antiseptic office accents with tactile textures — think leather mouse pads, bamboo organizers, stone desktop cups, and boho woven rugs.
The Little Luxuries Add Up
If you’re an entrepreneur who has agency over the space, consider updates like plush office chairs that lean back, coffee tables, pouf ottomans, thick rugs, and cozy corners that encourage socializing. Not only are these spaces where ideas thrive, they’ll emphasize the communal strength of the workplace and help your crew feel like they never left home.
If you’re an employee who only has agency over your desk, you can still embrace touches of luxury. Molly Simms of Katie Couric Media suggests getting that desktop diffuser and splurging on a wireless charging pad to declutter those USB tangles. Gift yourself a ceramic mug warmer or an active balance board for a standing desk. Treat yourself — you deserve it for getting out of the house.
Whether you’re working from home or the office today, check out “The Best B2B Deals for Business Owners in 2022.”